Best Friend Espresso owner Wayne Hembree says that since he labeled his Kenmore stand “family friendly” in December of 2010, he still receives complaints about his baristas’ outfits.
Hembree said his employees usually wear skirts and dresses that show off their legs.
“We do get complaints from people saying, ‘If it’s family friendly, then why don’t your girls wear jeans?’” he said, noting that if he changed the dress policy even further, employees might not get enough tips and decide to move on to a bikini-barista stand. “A lot of complaints are from women who don’t want their husbands buying coffee from a good-looking woman.”
The Reporter recently received one complaint in the form of a letter to the editor from Angel Beaudry.
After a visit to Best Friend, she noted that, “The barista was wearing a piece of clothing that would be considered a skirt, but her butt was literally hanging out of the bottom of it. Classy.”
Hembree said his employees are required to sign a notarized agreement that notes that “they’re going to be dressed family friendly and not do anything that’s against the law” while working at Best Friend, he added. If there is a complaint, videos shot at the stand are available for police to check.
Hembree switched his stand to family friendly (away from bikini- or lingerie-clad baristas) after a male customer claimed an employee exposed and briefly fondled herself at the shop on Northeast Bothell Way in October of 2010. A police report was filed, but the case was dropped after the customer decided not to help in any prosecution because he was embarrassed about the situation.
The Best Friend owner said that business is about one-third of what it used to be after the change.
“We’re not trying to get rich. We’re trying to stay within the scope of the law and keep the community happy,” Hembree said.